Medical startup receives major investment

Investment signals potential boost to patients self-care choices.

The GM&C Life Sciences fund has awarded a £700,000 investment to a medical firm focused on increasing patient opportunities for self-care.

Maxwellia was founded by Anna Maxwell in 2013 to promote a process called ‘switching’, whereby the manufacturers of prescription medication liaise with government to have their products reclassified for over the counter (OTC) sale.  The company’s most high-profile work to date has been the successful reclassification of EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), the world’s most advanced morning-after contraceptive.

Despite once being common, the process has become increasingly rarified in the UK since the late 2000s. Household names such as Nurofen and Imodium became available for general purchase many years ago, and continue to be popular despite their generic equivalents (ibuprofen and loperamide) being readily available for purchase.

But Ms Maxwell, who serves as the company’s CEO, insists the tide is beginning to rise once again. In an interview, she claimed that companies were reconsidering opening their products up to patients due to issues surrounding exclusivity rights to new innovations.

“The way the system is now, you invent a new drug and you have the exclusive rights to it for 20 years, with a maximum of 15 years after it’s first approved for use”, she said in an interview. “I think that’s exactly right, but for a lot companies they’re concerned about what happens to them after that time runs out and cheaper equivalents become available”.

Nurofen is the original, branded name for ibuprofen. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Taking medicines off prescription can have significant positive effects on patient quality of life as well as a manufacturer’s revenue. Most notably in recent years, the anti-malaria treatment Maloff Protect (atovaquone/proguanil hydrochloride) was reclassified to be sold in pharmacies. This allowed Brits returning from areas with high risk of the disease to be treated without frequent disruptive visits to the hospital.

 

Preventing food waste

Across the world, food wastage is becoming an increasingly pressing concern. In the UK particularly, figures suggest we discard around £13 billion worth of edible food every single year, a problem that becomes particularly stark when vulnerable people are faced with extreme weather such as the arctic storms that have rocked the UK in recent weeks. Many will go to the supermarket to find their shelves empty of bread and milk – but how much of it will really be used?

Studies of food wastage in the UK point the blame firmly at students, with the average student spending around £130 per week on food and wasting a significant amount of their excess purchases. But non-profit organisations such as FareShare and The Felix Project are stepping up to help students learn to manage their food more effectively, generating less waste and supporting the local environment.

Suggestions for people who feel that they may be wasting too high a proportion of their food include buying more frozen products (as they keep for longer), planning their shopping trips more rigorously in advance to prevent impulse buying, and checking the date on packages before purchase so you can be sure that you will eat the food before it becomes inedible.

Anyone interested in learning more can visit http://lovefoodhatewaste.com/ to learn more about cutting down on the waste they generate, and supporting their local environment.

Live Show Review: CPJ Advanced WK5

The first thing you notice when the show starts is that the sofa presenters have been shifted from one side of the room to the other. Aside from the obviously troubling news that the “sofa presenters” are now a considerable distance removed from their sofa, I like the way this shot looks more than I do the standard set-up. Whether or not it fits the format is a slightly different question though – I tend to see the JLDN streams as a more relaxed One Show-esque thing and in that sense I think the sofa works slightly better. It’s a really small thing though. Definitely not worth the 103 words I dedicated to it before I started writing this sentence.

Theo and Mahria are both great at the start, and basically continue being great throughout. There’s a few autocue problems, but they’re not catastrophic.

Slight hiccup during VT1, where Charlie is suddenly removed from the screen and Isla stares mutely into my soul for a good five seconds or so. I think Theo apologised and acknowledged it, but I can’t really know as his mic was switched off.

Nicola was good with the bulletins, but it seems like there was a problem with the autocue which probably made life slightly more difficult.

A couple more microphone issues deprive me of the witty repartee between our hosts once the bulletins have finished, crushing my soul irreparably. It’s sorted out quickly though, and all is well again as Theo reads the introduction to Leanne’s VT.

The VT is great. I don’t really have anything else to add.

Theo and Mahria head back to the sofa. I can only assume this has corrected some great imbalance in the universe, because the autocue is working again.

We’re off to Saf now, which I suppose means I now have to talk about my role and the various fun adventures I had that day. The iPod kit I had available did include a small collar mic, so Saf could waft her hands around like a real reporter if she wanted, but unfortunately it was basically useless as there was no way to get the audio from that microphone into the iPod without directly linking them with the stumpy cord. This is why we’re using the larger microphone. I realised at the time I was wobbling (appalling posture on my part, or possibly a micro-earthquake) but it’s worse on the feed than I thought it was going to be. The intense jolt after we get our followup question (there was a brief delay there) is from me wiggling a finger to get the point across that a question had been asked as Saf couldn’t hear the show. With hindsight, it would have been easier to just wink or something. 

Back to the sofa and I can hear all the Temple Run fun, cheering me up instantly. Theo and Mahria have been good throughout and continue to be as they introduce Shola’s VT.

Shola’s team’s VT is excellent. My tiny, tiny, complaint is that the Gaming Society President’s description on his lower third is miniature and hard to read.

Another mic issue as we head back to Mahria and Theo introduces our team’s VT.

I edited this, and even though (like everything I’m associated with) it’s utterly unimpeachable in its brilliance I definitely think I could have done it better. I’d had a lot of technical issues with my state of the art 2015 MacBook Air, which involved an inordinately long time uninstalling and reinstalling my operating system and basically just feeling sorry for myself. Such that the file actually needed to be converted from one format to another at the last moment before the show went live. It was a total headache, and there are mistakes in the final thing I find really frustrating. The fact that James Walsh has no lower third, the fact that there’s a few stray syllables once he appears on camera, and the fact that I somehow managed to misplace the half-second of audio where he says “at the Student’s Union” so it sounds like he’s the Head of Representation, Advice and Insight just in general, for the universe. So to conclude – I’m not happy with it. Under the circumstances though, I’m basically just pleased it exists at all.

Moving swiftly on, James is a great sofa guest and the presenters continue to do well. The sound levels were a little uneven, but thankfully in the direction of quietness rather than ear-splitting volume.

The lighting on Olivia isn’t great, she’s a bit hard to see and the brightness of the whiteboard relative to the walls makes the text on there hard to read as well. And there was a brief camera slip, but it’s all good. Quickly recovered. Olivia did really well, the stories were good and it was an entertaining segment.

A couple of sound issues in Delina’s VT, I have no idea whether’s that’s a result of the desk or the VT itself. The shot where she walks through the automatic doors is good, and provides some thrilling tension as you wonder whether the doors will open in time to prevent her bumping into them (they do). The sound levels are a bit off but overall it’s a good VT. 

That’s pretty much the end, there was no goodbye (which personally I found rather hurtful) and a delay before the end credits but then that’s it.

It wasn’t our finest work. Myself very much included. It wasn’t awful though. I’d give it a 4/10. Slightly worse than unremarkable but not Hindenburg Disaster levels of catastrophic by any stretch.

Review: Live Show WK10

Saf and Emma are both very good sofa presenters, with Saf in particular being very eloquent and clearly-spoken. I don’t like the footage overlay, particularly the fact that it has sound. It feels jarring and totally unnatural when it suddenly appears into the mix. Could probably have been executed better with a fade-in and only the sound of the presenters speaking over the top of it.

The footage also ends with a short black screen, which isn’t quite ideal but understandable as I imagine it’s awkward to cut out at precisely the right time. Again, I think a fade would have worked better than a cut here. Saf and Emma’s delivery of the last few lines in this segment was weird, but as far as I can recall this is due to one of several mistakes in the scripting that made the autocue difficult to read so it’s hard to fault them for it.

The framing on VT1 is good, with a great choice in background behind Saf. It definitely seems weird to cut to her being somewhere else though. Nice framing of vox pops, although on my laptop it appears the sound is out of sync with the video in places. The establishing shot of the careers and guidance area appears to be at a canted angle. Otherwise very good.

VT2 is great, although the wait for their interviewee to open the door felt a bit long. Not too sure about that closing GV shot either.

I absolutely abhor the decision to stand Nick in front of the production desk. I was unable to take my eyes off myself chewing my mints the entire time. Not to mention how self-conscious I was of that fact while I was supposed to be scrolling the autocue around. I don’t think it’s a good look at all. That notwithstanding, Nick was a good bulletins host.

Moona is a great sofa guest, very good at glancing discreetly at her notes and comes across as very confident. Cut to the footage of vox pops was done very well.

VT3 is introduced by referring to the Soho popup store as “the first popup store”, which would doubtless come as a bit of a surprise to the popup stores that have been around all over the world for centuries. This is silly nitpicking though – the VT is pretty good but the sound on Delina’s voiceover is a bit weird, and the background noise is inconsistent.

VT4 is good, although Shola seems oddly enthused about the high rates of homelessness. The sound levels are inconsistent with the v/o but overall a great package.

Isla is a great social media host. Not a whole lot else to say, she did a very good job.

Stanley narrates VT5 really well. He’s a great host. The sound can sometimes be inconsistent, it’s disorienting when one of the channels goes silent all of a sudden but that aside its a great package overall. Lots of information, good camerawork, decent vox pop.

VT6 has inconsistent sound and is slightly inconsistent audio-wise. I think it’s okay though. The interviewees were great. I edited it, so obviously I’m a bit biased there.

Saf and Emma close the show out very well.

Overall probably a 7 or 8 out of 10.

The Crumbling NHS

Pic: An NHS hospital in East Anglia, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“About a year and a half ago, I went to Chile with my uni course. While I was there, I was having these chronic headaches. I’d always had them, but they were really bad then.”

Allan is 21, and seems the picture of health. But barely 18 months ago, he was having brain surgery. He suffers from hydrocephalus, a condition which prevents the fluid in his skull from draining the way it ought to.

“I got an MRI in Lima, and they immediately spotted the problem. I had surgery as soon as I landed back in the UK”, he tells me. “But before then I’d had three MRI scans with the NHS, and they couldn’t see any problems at all.”

Allan’s experiences have left him extremely sceptical of the National Health Service. He’s not alone – in December 2017, stories about the failures of the British health system are commonplace in the media.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of NHS trusts turning away A&E patients, NHS neglect leading to the suicide of a Bristol teen and a large overpayment for thyroid medication. Some of this is likely linked to the insidious influence of Peppa Pig, but it is impossible to say quite how much.

As we move into the Christmas season, with its below-freezing nights and regular drinking, the NHS workload is likely to increase during the coming weeks. The calendar, combined with the resignation of NHS trust chief Lord Kerslake, has many hand-wringing about the impending (or ongoing) crisis.

Not everyone is panicking, however. Kate Andrews, an American emigre currently serving as News Editor at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has been making impassioned cases against the NHS for years.  Speaking at an IEA event in 2017, Ms Andrews said that the NHS “is not special” and needs to “look to it neighbours, look toward Asia” to figure out how to evolve and improve.

In his London flat, Allan agrees. “As a psychology student, I do see a few things about how the NHS treats mental health that really concern me. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a big one. It’s the go-to treatment because it’s cheap, but the effectiveness of it compared to what they do in other countries is really low”. 

Critics of the NHS say that is structured in a way that stifles innovation. Some have even called it “stalinist”, governed as it is by five year plans. Yet this criticism may not be entirely fair. Slowly, change is creeping into the system.

This year saw the launch of a new online GP service powered by Babylon Healthcare, and the Health Secretary has commissioned an app which will consolidate publicly available information to allow the public to check their symptoms against any potential ailments.

Yet there remain deep and fundamental issues that will go unsolved into this most trying time of the year. Health outcomes are poor, beds are in short supply and even the Health Secretary is admitting to “bottlenecking” in the service he operates. When I ask Allan if he’ll be avoiding the NHS over the next month, he just smiles wordlessly. He’s planning on avoiding it indefinitely.

Live Show Feedback – WK7

Shola and George are both excellent sofa presenters, although she was slightly quieter than he was.

Great transition into VT1, although the font on the lower third is wrong. There’s too much headroom over Olivia. The lower thirds are still wrong moving forward, and there’s far too much empty space behind the interviewee. Besides framing, the camerawork is very good. The sound is off though, he’s extremely quiet. The second interviewee is also framed awkwardly, and the font of the lower thirds is still wrong. The sound is improved though. The GV shots are all great.

The time-lapse on VT2 is brilliant, although the hilarity of Theo’s enunciation (three tiiiiimes) and abrupt swivel-to-camera is a bit jarring. He’s also using a handheld mic. The sound is very inconsistent, his speech is generally overshadowed by the music and occasionally only goes into my right ear. The GV shots are all great. Putting the quote on-screen was a great idea but it could have been easier to read. The Vox Pops have similar sound issues to the package generally. I’m 90% sure I spotted some GV reuse toward the end though.

Remeka did well at bulletins, although she might have benefitted from more practice with pronunciation on some of the names (Mordaunt). Aside from that, very good.

Ralitsa’s good on the sofa – very confident and lots of information in a short space of time. Shola and George are both still doing well.

VT3 has inconsistent sound, but I can forgive it because the font of the lower thirds is correct. Framing on vox pops is great, the framing and camerawork generally are very good.

VT4’s v/o is very whispery, and listening to it in headphones makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. Visually, it’s very dark but that’s understandable. Given the background noise during vox pops the piece might have benefitted from background noise beneath the v/o. The hard out was jarring but overall quite good.

The sound is slightly less-than-ideal on VT5, although the footage is all quite good. There’s some visual tearing intermittently at the top of the screen and it seems to be running at slightly less than its proper pace. Those technical issues notwithstanding, it’s quite good.

Jacob’s great on social media, despite the slight mic issues at the outset.

At this point I don’t know what’s wrong with my stream and what’s wrong with the show, but as I’m watching it it looks like the audio and video are out-of-sync on VT6. I’m also getting more visual tears. The camerawork is beautiful as usual, although the sound is inconsistent.

Shola and George close the show out well. They were both great for the duration.

 

Westminster Scandal: What We Know

In recent weeks, Westminster has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct. The scandal has claimed the scalp of one cabinet minister, but how much further does it go? James Middleton investigates.

On the November 1st 2017, Sir Michael Fallon resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Defence following allegations of sexual misconduct. That resignation was a centrepiece in the still-unfolding scandal concerning the behaviour of our elected officials. But how much is still left to uncover?

 

Speaking under condition of anonymity, one Treasury official told JLDN that the unfolding scandal represented a reckoning for Parliament, where the attitude toward sexual conduct has long ben “unacceptable”. He warned, however, that the public may be receiving too limited a picture of the situation. “It’s not just Parliament and government, it’s the media as well”, they claimed. “The press must seriously examine their own position, casting stones is not sufficient”.

John Bercow has warned against too fervent a reaction, however. The Speaker of the Commons has warned that accused MPs have received treatment “worse than that of terrorists”, and claimed it was entirely predictable that the unfolding scandal would lead to deaths. He was referencing the case of former Welsh Government official Carl Sergeant, who took his own life following as-yet unproven allegations of sexual misconduct.

Further, Bercow has criticised the current system of processing such claims, wherein the accused has no right to know what they are alleged to have done. Sergeant did not know what the allegations were concerning his own conduct, and the suspended Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has released a statement claiming similar ignorance.

Other accused MPs include the Conservatives Stephen Crabb and Mark Garnier and Labour’s Clive Lewis and Kelvin Hopkins. Additionally, the Scottish Minister for Childcare Mark McDonald resigned his post following sexual misconduct allegations.

Live Show Feedback – WK4

Sid and Barbara were very good on the sofa during the opening, very natural and extremely professional. VT1 was largely good, although there was a  jarring cut to loud road footage for just under a second, which was rather unsettling. There was also some microphone distortion during the interview portion which rendered the speech slightly harder to comprehend. VT2 was very good, although I found the incorrect font on the lower third slightly frustrating. VT3 had grating sound distortion in the initial period, though its runtime was cut short by technical difficulties. A lack of communication led to some on-camera difficulties for Sid and Barbara, particularly when they attempted to cut away to a followup VT. The rest of the VT packages were good, particularly the camerawork on VT4.

I felt I performed adequately as a bulletins presenter, although I stumbled over several pronunciations of fairly mundane words. I also feel that my elocution was off, and I sounded as though I were trying to explain the news to an indolent child. The social media presenting was exceptional even in the face of whiteboard difficulties. Overall the show was quite good for a first attempt, and I feel it augurs well for future shows.

Free WiFi Coverage for Southwark Borough

Southwark Borough Council have begun work on the introduction of “Strawberry Smart Benches” across Southwark, providing the borough with 100 of these free wifi hotspots by the end of the year.

In addition to serving as wifi hotspots, these benches will also act as USB charging stations, and environmental sensors, allowing Southwark residents to keep track of temperature, humidity and the CO2 levels in nearby air.

The move was welcomed by local young people as “good for students”, with LSBU student Shane adding that it will be very useful or him, especially “since its free of charge”.

In addition to the benches, BT is also constructing several “links” kiosks, which feature WiFi hotspots in addition to public payphones. The services will be paid for by digital advertising, in addition to sponsorship from the Ford motor company.

Southwark is the second area to receive these utilities, after several Strawberry Smart Benches were constructed in Islington in recent months. The move marks another step in the process toward making London a wholly wi-fi enabled city, following in the footsteps of major continental cities such as Barcelona in providing free internet access for residents and visitors alike.

Generic, But Worse – “All We Needed” Review

Is Craig David trying to keep money away from Children in Need with this track?

The temptation is always to glow about charity singles. They’re harmless fun, and it’s for a good cause. Think of the children!

Well, the children will get over it. The fact is, this song is embarrassing in its mediocrity. It is violently dull, ambitiously pedestrian and performed with expert inability. Making a boring, indistinguishable ballad for charity is one thing (as crimes against music go, it’s fairly forgivable) but making boring, indistinguishable ballad for which the artist’s voice is wholly unsuited is another thing.

To be fair to Craig David, who has never peaked above the 1999 Re-Rewind if you ask me, he just about holds it down until halfway through. By that point the instruments drown him out, and he’s reduced to a high-pitched background drone. A bit like one of those whistling kettles, but you didn’t want whatever’s being brewed and you feel morally obligated to drink it anyway.

There’s not too much more to say. There’s not too much more going on. It’s just Craig David, with all the Craig David taken out.

2/10 – Don’t buy the single, just donate the pound instead.